In his book, A Life Best Lived, master business coach Danny Creed shares a counterintuitive insight: “There is an old Zen teaching that says in order to be successful, we must slowdown in order to speed up.”
Creed goes on to explain that often you become your own worst enemy by continuing to do what you’ve been doing. By taking the time, however, to slow down and refrain from the constant grind, perhaps just a half a step, you can honestly analyze what you’ve been doing.
From this slower pace you gain an understanding and acceptance that what you’re doing is either not effective or, worse yet, actually undermining your efforts.
With this insight, you can alter your course or tweak your approach. From there, you can not only get back the half of step you lost but also pick up the pace going forward. As Creed implies, often the best way to speed up is to slow down first.
Imagine this: You’ve got a daughter who’s been asked out on a date. The date arrives a few minutes late, toots the horn and expects her to run out to the car. Then she has another date with someone else. This person arrives a tad early and comes up to the door with flowers, candy and a willingness to meet you. Here’s the question: Who do you encourage her to go out with again?
The answer is almost rhetorical. You can see when people are being treated well and when they’re not. You know when you’re being treated well and when you’re not. You simply need to keep that in mind as you interact with others.
It’s no big secret, but if you look to build strong, long-term relationships, you need to treat those in your network in a fashion that will make them want to connect with you again and again.
Growing up, Travis Roy had one goal: To play Division I college hockey like his father. In the fall of 1995, his dreams were realized as he enrolled at Boston University on a scholarship to play hockey for the Terriers.
Unfortunately, 11 seconds into the first shift of his collegiate career, Roy took an odd fall headlong into the boards, cracking his fourth and fifth cervical vertebra. This paralyzed him from the neck down. His college career and hockey dream were over.
However, he vowed that it would not end his life. Roy went on to graduate from Boston University in four years. He became an author. He became a sought-after motivational speaker. And he became a tireless advocate for people with spinal cord injuries.
Travis Roy’s story offers a lesson. Yes, life will hand you setbacks. It might even give you tragedies to deal with. Despite that, don’t stop forging ahead and making a great impact on the world.
As speaker and personal development influencer Lewis Howes reminds in his book, The School of Greatness, “A powerful vision emerges when we couple our dreams with a set of clear goals.”
As Howes implies, there is nothing wrong with dreams, but without goals your ability to live those dreams is impaired. And goals are great, if not vital. But if you don’t have them tied to an underlying dream, the inspiration to see your goals through will be lacking.
Without both a dream and the goals to achieve it, Howes states, “you are apt to wander in a clueless and purposeless fog.”
Don’t get stuck in this state. Stop to envision the dreams you have for yourself, both personally and professionally. Then attach to those dreams clear and realistic goals. After all, the dreams will fuel your efforts with purpose. And your goals will provide clues as to how you can see them through.
The best compliment that you can receive has nothing to do with your intelligence or insight. It has nothing to do with what you achieve or how hard you work. The greatest compliment you can receive is that you are reliable.
Why? It’s simple. Reliability is the foundation upon which all our talents and characteristics rest.
Reliability is everything. A great work ethic will get you nowhere unless you do what you say. Wonderful insight or superior intellect is critically handicapped by an inability to honor your word. Reliability goes to the heart of establishing others’ trust in you.
So, if someone says you are being smart, say thanks. If they call you a hard worker, nod in appreciation. If you are told you’ve got great insight, smile in gratitude.
But if someone says they can depend on you, then do all three. Because when they do, they’re indicating you are reliable. And that the highest compliment of all.
Networking is about helping others and then trusting that in time they will help you in return. By that definition, it starts with you. You need to take the initiative in doing for others and you need to become patient in waiting for those efforts to come back to you.
When the attention turns to you and others ask how they can help you, don’t get consumed asking for “game changing” opportunities. You know, the game winning “home runs”. While these are wonderful, they tend to be very few and far between. And unless your network has one readily in sight, they will quickly stop trying to find one.
Rather focus your requests on little things. Things that are of benefit and relatively easy to find. These “base hits” might not be exciting. Over time, however, one by one these seemingly mundane acts serve to collectively move the needle. And in the end, this strategy will be most productive for you.
Do you want to know a secret to great networking? Here’s one from consultant Jason Treu from his book Social Wealth: “Meeting people in groups or organizations is the fastest and most efficient way to accumulate and manage your social capital and is the least resource intensive. This is the secret that super networkers use to consistently meet a lot of new people.”
Treu goes on to share that through groups and organizations there is a heightened degree of immediate trust. As a result, the exchange of referrals, contacts, and information is more free flowing. And, the association with like-minded individuals allows you to be more open, direct, vulnerable, authentic, honest, and giving. This results in you being able to more rapidly convert mere interactions into true relationships.
Knowing all of this, you should have every incentive to find a group or organization that fits you well. Then become involved with it as if your networking depends on it. Because it does.
Being effectively networked, in time, becomes less about constantly meeting new people and infinitely more about staying in contact with those you already know. This notion, however, generally conjures up sentiments like, “What is it that I’m saying to all these people?” Or “I don’t want to bother these people.”
Marketing consultant Kimberly Rice share an appropriate response to this in her book Rainmaker Roadmap: “Reach out with a helpful spirit and the true intention of checking in.”
As Rice implies, offer your assistance, however they might need it, even if it’s not connected to what you do professionally. “Checking in” can be related to business transactions or starting a new position at work. But it can also relate to things that are more personal in nature, such as remembering milestones or noting family happenings, such as graduations, vacations or other activities.
Staying in contact is really less about the topic and more about the spirit that moves you.